PF detail from Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Beach Scene, Guernsey (Children by the Sea in Guernsey) - 1883;


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Last updated:
May 2009


Naomi Woddis is a writer, performer, workshop facilitator and event curator. Her featured performances include Hackney’s Write to Ignite Literature Festival, O2 Wireless Festival and a Page to the Stage at Theatre Royal Stratford East. She has been published in Trespass, Rising, Poet’s Letter, Jupiter, Conversations Quarterly and Inside Out magazine. Her curating and project management work includes ‘SoundBlast’ a partnership project with Apples & Snakes and the Poetry Book Society. Together with fellow performer, Dzifa Benson she is the founder of Word Migrants Literature consultancy. Her   innovative collaborative online invention Poetry Mosaic is gaining in international popularity. She has appeared on both Resonance FM and Colourful FM. Her pamphlet “Life is Music” was published in 2007.

Hopper and Us | Rothko’s Silence


Hopper and Us

See how this light fills a room, its sharp
geometry illustrates your absence silently,
not one word said. I saw water fill your eyes.

We looked at those mud thick strokes, lonely faces
in a hotel lobby, a room looking out to sea and saw
just what it was that was missing. A strip light

in an empty office shone. A sad woman in tights
sat on a bed, waiting. I felt I knew her.
You said she looked like me.

The night is a chilly blur, a door swings and flirts
on its hinges. Hopper's sad light lingers, shines flatly
in this empty room.

Nothing can be contained for ever,
what's left are bland shadows and one more
unfilled window looking outwards.



Rothko’s Silence

We flinch from it, want more images
to flick across the surface. Instead
a blur of slate grey diluted
to a white penumbra with a shot
of turps, or how the oranges
in my fruit bowl sing at their skin
mentioned on a canvas. A hive
of assistants worked with him,
hands moving at a conjurer's speed.
Each painted layer a shared meditation.
One restaurant bought his painterly
autograph, so that diners, lips full
of conversation could sit at ear height,
chewing on carpaccio, sharing the maroon.
Rothko gave the money back, his paintings
later earnt millions. A sum he'd never know.
He died at his own hand, his blood
a signature in a 8 x 8 room, deadened
and dense with pills, deep cuts
across his wrists, left his children
fatherless, led us where wordless colours
rule the accuracy of silence
he talked about.


“Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea, which at 30 meters becomes the portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko)” in 1976.
By Salvador Dali